It’s important to seek feedback about your work. Doing this provides both confirmation and insight, stimulating growth. It’s important to consider who you seek feed back from as each viewer will have something unique to offer.
Seek feedback from people who know you; they will understand personal dimensions of your work others won’t be privy to. Seek feedback from those who don’t know you; they won’t make assumptions based on your personal past or allowances based on friendship. Seek feedback from professionals; they have a first hand experience of an artist’s working concerns and craft. Seek feedback from people without expertise in your field; they are less likely to be swayed by current concerns within a discipline and tend to weigh content over craft. Seek feedback from people who appreciate the type of art you create; they will understand the history and concerns of the media you practice. Seek feedback from people who appreciate art generally; they will be more broadly concerned with expression and may be better able to weigh the general accessibility of the work. Understanding the biases and prejudices each audience may have is important when weighing feedback.
Consider all aspects of the presentation of your work before presenting it. How you present your work will have a strong influence on the type of feedback you receive.
Remember, no matter what kind of feedback you get or who you get it from, you are the ultimate authority on your work. Feedback is only useful if you use it. And you alone determine what to use and what not to, what you take to heart and what you don’t,
Put Yourself in Someone Else’s Shoes
Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and gain a new perspective. The idea of emulating a mentor has been used throughout the ages as a way of stimulating personal growth. Some people are lucky enough to be able to work with a mentor person to person. Others adopt the behaviors of a role model from afar. Fewer create an ideal person to model their behavior on. You may be able to do any or all of the above. A person doesn’t have to be exemplary in all areas to be a useful role model; they can simply be good at the one thing you’d like to improve your performance in. I believe we can all learn at least one thing from each other.
Rut or Groove?
Ask yourself, “Is it a groove or a rut?” Then take steps to get out of a rut and into the groove. Habits can facilitate success, by consolidating an accumulation of effort, ensuring consistency, and getting you into the zone faster. Habits can be barriers to success, if you end up searching the same ground and coming up with the same answers again and again. To keep things fresh, make it a habit to try something new. What’s the best way to get started? List your habits and systematically challenge them. Instead of challenging them all at once, identify areas you think are most likely to be fruitful and concentrate on them one at a time. Really give it a go; don’t back off to quickly or easily. If you do, you’ll find either confirmation or make a breakthrough.
The most powerful creative techniques provide an opportunity for you to shift your perspective. The most powerful technique of all is reversal. Shift your perspective 180 degrees. Make an observation or assertion. Then make an observation from the opposite perspective or assert the opposite. Use this as a tool for exploration. Many ideas will come to light. It may take a little practice to find the real utility in any technique, so don’t give up too quickly. You’ll also find every technique has its limitations; this technique leads you towards framing things as dichotomies (either/or choices) rather than dialetics (spectrums of possibilities).
How has this helped me? Let me count the ways! Here’s one. It’s been tremendously stimulating for me to constantly shift between making minimally altered photographs and highly altered images.
I select the top 12 images I release every year.
This selection is not based on sales, collection, or publication.
It is based solely on my personal opinion.
Find more of my Annual Top 12 Images selections here.